The 2018 Victoria Classic Boat Festival took place at the Inner Harbour. (Photo by James Holkko)

Ahoy! Ships from all over northwest coast will moor at the Inner Harbour this weekend

SALTS tall ships return on Friday just in time for the 42nd Annual Victorial Classic Boat Festival

Will you be sittin’ on the dock of the bay Otis Redding-style when the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) tall ships return to Ship Point at Victoria’s Inner Harbour?

After 10 days at sea, at 11 a.m. on Friday, crews and trainees aboard the Pacific Swift and the Pacific Grace will bring the boats home — just in time for the 42nd Annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival which takes place from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

SALTS, a registered charity, was founded in 1974 and offers folks ages 13-25 the opportunity to participate in sailing programs that run from five to ten days. About 1,700 young people take part in the sailing trips aboard the two tall ships operated by SALT. Trainees get to travel through B.C.’s Inside Passage and explore Desolation Sound, the Great Bear Rainforest, Haida Gwaii and other more secluded spots along the province’s west coast.

Both SALTS tall ships will be entered in the festival, said Communications Coordinator Christa Brunt. Volunteers and former trainees will lead guided tours of the ships from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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Aside from tours, the festival will include a race and a sail-past — adapted from the 200-year-old British tradition where Admirals and Royalty would review fleets for special occasions. The sail-past and the races take place on Sept. 1 and can be admired from Holland Point Park.

“This event truly showcases floating works of art that make up an important part of our maritime heritage,” said Don Prittie, General Manager of Canoe Cove Marina and principle sponsor of the festival.

The festival began in 1977 and gives attendees the opportunity to check out ships new and old, power and sail, work-boats and cruisers, said Festival Chair William Noon. Vessels come from from all over the Pacific Northwest to attend and the festival usually draws a crowd of about 10,000.

“The festival’s open docks, events, and activities serve to engage our community and visitors on our maritime history, culture, and its ongoing story,” said Noon.

Admission to the fesitval is by donation. For more information about the SALTS programs, visit salts.ca.


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